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Saturday, October 24, 2009

H1N1 Vaccine and Pregnancy

***Consult Your Physician ***

Then YOU can make the decision that is best for you and your family.

The flu has a dangerous history for pregnant women and their babies.
In fact it has long been known as a disaster for pregnant women.

Today we are faced with a dilemma to use or to decline the use of the H1N1 vaccine that is now available for us. First Responders , Healthcare Workers and their employers are seeking answers as quickly as possible. Everyone,this season is scrabling to do what is best for themselves and their families; considering the data that is available. Find out what are the medical recommendations given your medical situation;for prevention and/or treatment? Certainly the more information, combined with a medical consult, the better. At present,although these decisions are difficult for us it is to our advantage that we now have choices that were not available during the pandemics of 1918, 1957 and 1968.

Complications and deaths from flu were much higher among pregnant women and newborns in the pandemics of 1918, 1957 and 1968 than among the general population. This appears to indicate that expecting mothers are naturally more vulnerable to the flu and it's complications. In the 1918 outbreak, 27% of flu infections in pregnant women were fatal, compared with about 10% of overall flu cases worldwide.
The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than the Great War, known today as World War I (WWI), at somewhere between 20 and 40 million people. It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history. More people died of influenza in a single year than in four-years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351. Known as "Spanish Flu" or "La Grippe" the influenza of 1918-1919 was a global . In the unusually severe 1918 pandemic, the miscarriage rate was an estimated 26% in women with uncomplicated flu and 52% in those with influenza and pneumonia, according to historical records. The rate of preterm birth was also about 50% in infected pregnant women.

study published in July in the Canadian Medical Assn. Journal examined 90 cases of H1N1 infection and use of Tamiflu
with pregnant women and did not find a higher risk of birth defects than that seen in the general population.

According to the CDC {Center for Disease Control and prevention}
"Pregnancy has been a risk factor for increased illness and death for both pandemic and seasonal influenza. The increased risk is believed to be related to several physiologic changes that occur during pregnancy. Because of mechanical and hormonal alterations that occur during pregnancy, several changes also occur to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, including increased heart rate, stroke volume, oxygen consumption, and decreased lung capacity."

"Planning for a future
influenza pandemic should include considerations specific to pregnant women.
First, pregnant women are at increased risk for influenza-associated illness and death.
The effects on the fetus of maternal influenza infection, associated fever, and
agents used for prophylaxis and treatment should be taken into account. Pregnant
women might be reluctant to comply with public health
recommendations during a pandemic because of concerns regarding effects of
vaccines or medications on the fetus. Guidelines
regarding nonpharmaceutical interventions (e.g., voluntary quarantine) also
might present special challenges because of conflicting recommendations about
routine prenatal care and delivery. Finally, healthcare facilities need to
develop plans to minimize exposure of pregnant women to ill persons, while
ensuring that women receive necessary care."

Reference the World Health organization for world wide concerns,plans and summits.


  1. Ah but as someone who has contracted GBS from the seasonal flu vaccine I would say be cautious. I have been a nurse for 32 years and I remember what happened in the 70's when the swine flu (H1N1) last appeared, the majority of the deaths recorded from the flu were from GBS complications. Testing done on the vaccines used then showed that there is a protein in our system that in some people reacts causing GBS. Is it really worth loosing your mobility and possibly your life for something that hasn't really been adequately tested?? Many of the first responders and healthcare workers you mention don't have a choice they have been told take the shot or loose your job.

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